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By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace
QUESTION: My fiance and I are well out of college, have lived together for two years, and are pretty well-stocked in the home-wares department. So, we are considering a honeymoon registry.
We want to create a gift registry for parts of a European honeymoon — things like bicycle rentals, museum passes, train tickets and possibly even hotel nights. We want to build it ourselves and avoid the companies that take a cut off the top (sometimes as much as 10 percent).
We’re far from a traditional couple, but I’m worried the registry idea might not sit well with some of our older guests since it essentially is asking for cash.
I’d love to get your opinion and appreciate any insights you can offer.
CALLIE’S ANSWER: Congratulations! I love the honeymoon idea as well as creating the registry yourselves!
That being said, I am sure there are things you and your fiance might like to have that you would never buy on your own. For example, my sister has beautiful everyday dishes. If you already like your everyday dishes, do you have a china set you like? If you register for a few of those traditional wedding gifts as well as the honeymoon, everyone can be happy.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Listen to your gut feeling that a honeymoon registry may not sit well with guests because it is asking for cash, and then work around that. A wedding is a celebration of two lives coming together, and your friends are there to rejoice with you on your new journey. Keep that idea front and center — that the focus of a wedding should not be about the gifts but about the reason for the wedding in the first place — and I think you can help your idea fall into place. If you can, enlist your family and close friends to spread the word about your perfect wedding gifts, so they’ll have an answer when people ask them what you’d like. Many people might like the idea of providing happy memories for the new bride and groom instead of things, but spread that by word-of-mouth. Registries can be a touchy subject.
It might be easier to try and use an online honeymoon registry to give people direction. That will avoid the appearance of you personally appearing to say “just send money.” People still will buy gifts for you that they think you’ll like or what fits in their budget, using the registry as a guide, so I don’t think you can funnel everybody to a honeymoon registry anyway.
Also, don’t include gift information on an invitation. If nothing else, think of what that will look like in a scrapbook — you want to preserve the moment, not the places where your gifts come from.
HELEN’S ANSWER: It is commendable that you realize that some of your guests might prefer the traditional way of gift-giving and hopefully you will honor that by choosing some gift items in a registry that might help them choose something for you if they do not want to contribute to the honeymoon. Since registries of any kind are really just appreciated suggestions, the gift-givers will certainly make their own decisions as to how to they want to spend their money.
Here is a question for you? How will you notify guests about the registries? I still do not think it is appropriate to add where to buy gifts on invitations, and it is almost rude since it implies the gift is more important than the guest. A telephone call to you or family members will get the word out. After all, the people you are inviting to the wedding are your friends and should know you all well enough to know your wishes.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Hilarie Blaney, etiquette and international protocol consultant: I think the honeymoon registry is a great idea. However, spending your time building the registry might be time consuming and you have enough to plan. This registry is a perfect way for the busy and Internet-savvy guests to purchase a memorable experience for a wedding gift.
For the more traditional guests, I would register a few unique items at area shops where they would regularly purchase wedding gifts. The registry is merely a suggestion; therefore, you must not be disappointed if all guests do not participate.
Lastly, as for building your own registry, exchange rates, website links and payment options might be cumbersome and worth the 10 percent to have a well-known wedding planning site do the job.
Callie Gordon is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus.